As children, we were largely dependent on our parents, elders and teachers to help us find our way in life especially learning life skills. Formal education, manners and etiquettes, independent and creative thinking, our morals and values, our attitudes and beliefs etc. were all strongly influenced by our elders and those whom we have come in contact with. However, with the passage of time, each individual matures and slowly weans away from this support system as a natural progression of life. The take away’s that remain with us and which we display in latter years are the lessons we have learned and imbibed through our interactions, formal study and independent thinking. Hopefully each one of us largely grasped and imbibed the right lessons and display this learning in our interactions.
Some universal lessons that every individual must learn include the following
Success is never final nor failure ever fatal: Every achievement that we are proud of has to be celebrated for it is the testimony to hard work and diligent effort. Success is also a great morale booster but should you let success go into your head, we would be blinded to better opportunities, fail to recognize competition and even loose the zeal for further achievement. At the same time, for the vast majority, success is largely elusive; yet the disappointment of failing must be viewed as a blip in the continum called life. There would be new opportunities, fresh challenges and renewed vigor to aspire and perspire for our goals. Failure is often, just a reality check that indicates we have to still prepare better and attempt again. Failure helps one value discipline, hard work and success. Use failure as a spring board for a giant leap not as a dead weight to drown in self pity. Failure is just one step backward while success is just one step forward; the gap to be filled is never too wide.
You cannot cross a chasm in two steps: Decision making is perhaps the one life skill that distinguishes the leaders from the followers. It is a skill that comes from a mix of learning, understanding and daring. Every individual has to, at some time or the other, face the reality of having to make decisions. That is when an individual has to take that leap of faith and make those big decisions that have major ramifications. The consequences of the decision could be either ecstatic, indifferent or devastating. What is important to learn is that we cannot run away from making those decisions. At times we have to take calculated risks. You cannot reach different shores unless you are willing to set sail and lose sight of the familiar shoreline.
When faced with a mountain you climb it, go around or dig through it: Problems are those imaginary mountains that we encounter daily. Most of them are minor hiccups, some inevitable irritants and a few major challenges. We often end up making a mountain out of a molehill and then endlessly worry about getting around the problem rather than trying to tackle the problem intelligently. Merely worrying about a problem is like sitting on a rocking chair; there is a lot of movement but you aren’t going anywhere. Translate your worry into tangible course of action to solve the problem. Sometimes the solutions seem more cruel than the problem, as in the case of choosing to ampute a gangrene threatened limb or going through a course of chemotherapy with all the allied side effects. However most problems, fortunately, are relatively minor and not life altering. There is a solution for every problem; the challenge is to calm the mind and explore alternatives and be decisive and bold enough to choose and execute one of the alternatives.
Know the difference between persistence and obstinacy: Try until one succeeds is a good maxim to adopt in life. Where we fail the first time, we must not give up on our dreams and with better preparation and a good plan of action try again and again. However, one needs to be both practical and realistic and if the goal set is beyond one’s rational ability and the proof is constant failure, it is vital that one learns to realize the difference between being persistent and being pig headed and obstinate. Many success stories were not written, because the authors failed to leverage their strengths and instead chose to bull doze their way, rather than change the script. Seek advice, pay attention to feedback, think rationally, minimize emotional indulgence and chase the dream that you can wake up to and live.
It is never too late to learn: Hopefully this post would have engaged your mind and made you think again. It is never too late to learn and put that learning into practice. Perhaps some new thoughts have emerged; maybe a latent dream has awakened, possibly you are already putting the lessons learnt into practice. You can learn from the most unusual people / circumstance. So be open to all sources of learning; open your heart mind and body so that no prejudice, irrationality or fear would filter your learning. Your learning stops only with your last breath. Till then keep an open mind, a grateful heart and a lively spirit. Today is yours to explore, enrich and empower through the lessons each moment offers.
- Think of the 3 most valuable lessons you learnt in life. Who was responsible for helping you learn. Did you ever acknowledge / appreciate their efforts?
- Identify the 3 major failures in your life. What was the learning from each of these failures? Did you give up because of a failure? Were you bitter and agnostic because of a failure?
- Do you have any regrets in your life? Are any regrets linked to your failure to be decisive and take action? Were any failures a result of being impulsive and taking emotional decisions?
- Can you learn something new in the coming week? You can choose from any of the following or set your own goal for a new learning.
- A new magic/ card trick
- Play a new sport
- Attempt to write a poem/ essay/ short story/ film review
- Visit a prison / hospice / mental asylum
- Adopt a pet dog/ fish / turtle /cat etc.
- Get involved in an artistic venture like a play/ a band/ an art or photographic exhibition
This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
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